Indigenous languages in North America are rapidly being displaced by English. The way of life communicated and embodied in Indigenous languages is therefore in jeopardy as well. This chapter examines an action research project underway in the author's native community of Hopi, in which literacy and schooling are being coopted as vehicles through which the local language and culture can be revitalized and maintained. Utilizing these historically invasive and assimilating institutions requires careful cultural negotiation guided by the understanding that in both its oral and written forms, the Native language communicates the Hopi way of life and Hopi identity. This negotiation also requires a critical, dialogic assessment of past colonizing experiences, and the ways in which individual and collective action can transform present and future possibilities. Finally, cultural negotiation requires that the voices of all stakeholders be heard and included. This chapter explores how the Hopi people have initiated such a process, and the ways in which Indigenous literacies can be vehicles for community empowerment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Social Sciences